Help! Teen's iPod overuse!


#1

Help. My teen son got a Gen 4 iPod at Christmas from his father (to upgrade his Gen 3 also from Dad) and I have no control over those gifts (we are divorced) and I have not taken control over the use.

He is CONSTANTLY CONNECTED! Always face down eyes on iPod. Sometimes games, other times texting, Facebook, googling… He does not like queries, “Who are you texting?” though he will say sometimes (and I try to keep it light). I warned him downward grades meant new ipod rules for school-year and I will need to be addressing that, as his grades went down through the school-year. He does average to above average in school by not studying. He listens and retains what is said in class. So grades, not so great for ability. State test scores in content area, pretty high. Study habits, awful. He is active in a winter sport that is time consuming, with extended seasons, and has some sport camps in summer. So he has discipline. Favorite downtime activity? iPod!!

I am not TOO concerned about X-rated as we have had many talks but th constant exposure to waht I can’t track or screen or block means he is in constant state of possible exposure. He knows about “custody of the eyes” but still…

Its too much! He is on summer vacation and deserves some unstructured time, but after morning sports camp he is all-day on iPod. This can’t go on.

Can’t dictate to a teen like a child!

I feel helpless and doesn’t anyone else struggle with this? I did a CAFsearch and did not see this topic addressed!

Perhaps some teens have video game problems. We don’t have a Playstation 3, as he has asked, but as he is not video-game-connected now, I am afraid that will be another battle like the iPod. But his Dad might get him that for Christmas.:frowning:

Also, when I have given iPod-grounding as a punishment once or twice, the tremendous hostile anger because of the forced separation was too much!

Trying to take control will mean severe anger and argument from him so I must get my thoughts and strategy in order in my own mind first.

So I would love suggestions. My son is 15, to be a sophomore.


#2

I dont have any advice from a parents perspective (my son is only 7 months), but from a kids perspective (I am 23 so i still remember what it feels like to be a kid) I would have to say that maybe if you discuss with your ex (assuming you are able) your concerns about his iPod usage and the school situation. Maybe you can get on the same page with him and then have a "sit-down" with your son to discuss your concerns.
If that doesnt seem to work, then Im all for taking the phone away and down grading him to a basic text/talk only phone. He might try to pull the "Dad got it for me, and you cant take it" card, but remind him that its your house, your rules and tell him he can use the iPod at his dads but not with you.
I know that seems harsh, but maybe if you tell him that is is a possible outcome then in order to avoid it happening he will cut back on the iPod...? I know if my mom would have told me that, I would have cut back:)


#3

I'm no parent but I've at least had 3-4 years of what I call T.I.D. (Technologically-Induced Drama) in my family. Our house has pretty much 3-4 computers (leftovers from an old business venture of my parents). I also have a PSP, a PS2, and my parents and sister are currently having a falling-out over grades, cellphones and other things.

From my experience, my parents only complain about our being wired when it causes any of the following:

  1. High electric bill
  2. Bad grades
  3. Poor health
  4. Negligence of other important things

Can you tell me which one of these is giving you reason to be concerned with your son's iPod time? I'm sorry but it just doesn't seem clearly worded out in your OP.


#4

By allowing so much time on the iPod, you are denying him many other experiences in life. Anger over an iPod is completely unacceptible. For a 15 year old, I would probably take it away from him. If he is able to continue on nicely, then he can earn the privelidge of having it for an hour a day . .. or something to that effect. If there was huge anger or disrespect, he would never see it again. I would explain everything to him in detail about why you are doing this. This is only an iPod, there is nothing inherently good about it, so he should have to real arguments.

You've got to nip it in the bud.

If you have a good understanding of the reasons why he should not be spending so much time on this, you should be fine.

I would also tell him, that if he responds angrily, more things will be taken away. There are some excellent books/ books on audio CDs that go into great detail about this type of subject. (I just read one by John Rosemond that would be a great help to you.)


#5

[quote="Oh_Charlotte, post:1, topic:247225"]
Help. My teen son got a Gen 4 iPod at Christmas from his father (to upgrade his Gen 3 also from Dad) and I have no control over those gifts (we are divorced)** and I have not taken control over the use.
**
He is CONSTANTLY CONNECTED! Always face down eyes on iPod. Sometimes games, other times texting, Facebook, googling.. He does not like queries, "Who are you texting?" though he will say sometimes (and I try to keep it light). I warned him downward grades meant new ipod rules for school-year and I will need to be addressing that, as his grades went down through the school-year. He does average to above average in school by not studying. He listens and retains what is said in class. So grades, not so great for ability. State test scores in content area, pretty high. Study habits, awful. He is active in a winter sport that is time consuming, with extended seasons, and has some sport camps in summer. So he has discipline. Favorite downtime activity? iPod!!

I am not TOO concerned about X-rated as we have had many talks but th constant exposure to waht I can't track or screen or block means he is in constant state of possible exposure. He knows about "custody of the eyes" but still...

Its too much! He is on summer vacation and deserves some unstructured time, but after morning sports camp he is all-day on iPod. This can't go on.

Can't dictate to a teen like a child!

I feel helpless and doesn't anyone else struggle with this? I did a CAFsearch and did not see this topic addressed!

Perhaps some teens have video game problems. We don't have a Playstation 3, as he has asked, but as he is not video-game-connected now, I am afraid that will be another battle like the iPod. But his Dad might get him that for Christmas.:(

Also, when I have given iPod-grounding as a punishment once or twice, the tremendous hostile anger because of the forced separation was too much!

Trying to take control will mean severe anger and argument from him so I must get my thoughts and strategy in order in my own mind first.

So I would love suggestions. My son is 15, to be a sophomore.

[/quote]

Allowing these things in without controls is a mistake. But it is hard to control teens' use of the internet or phones. In your case, you have the other parent who will likely not support you in limiting this, since your ex probably wants to be the fun guy, the friend, so you can be the bad guy, the "bad cop." I have the same situation. We didn't even have a game console and the kids worked to earn computer time...long ago in a galaxy far far away...LOL Then hubby wanted to get an X-box and everything went to heck in a handcart. In fact, I just opened the phone bill this month and about had a heart attack...

$684.74!!! All from his phone accessing the internet wherever he was!!!! He just got a new phone and it required data usage, the phone companies know exactly what they are doing and the plan is to rip us off but the kids need controls.

So I know what you are going through. If your boy is doing that, you are fixing to get wholloped with a huge phone bill too.

As for controls: Set up a contract with your son. Put down exactly what your expectations are for the grades and behavior, your bottom line. If he is expected to get at least all Bs, put that down. Attitude must be good, polite, cooperative. Otherwise, he surrenders the instrument for whatever time period you decide. Also, your phone service can put controls on his line so that you can block any x-rated stuff. I told my son that I can check his phone at any time as well as his computer, or he surrenders them both. He agreed but I do expect him to scream when I actually do it. I am ready for that reaction.

I think it is much harder for moms to be strong when our teenage sons yell and scream and get angry with us. That is why we need a strong dad to back us up, actually all of this stuff should COME FROM the father but some of us don't have that possibility.

You have to be ready for his response, and tell him ahead of time that if he goes overboard with his emotions, he will only hurt himself more. Do you have any other males who can back you up with this? It will help to talk to someone who knows him and can also help you draw that line strongly.

Sometimes I wish I could have just gone and joined the Amish but I suppose their children sneak the buggy out in the middle of the night...listen to the radio on the sly...LOL

Hang in there and STAND FIRM! John Rosemond is a great resource for old-fashioned parenting! Dr. Laura too!


#6

If you son doesn’t require internet access, just add a MAC address filter/access list to the wireless router in your house and do not put his iPod on it. That will relegate the use to strictly whatever music has on it and games already downloaded. Without being able to access Facebook, e-mail, texts, I’m sure his time using the iPod will decrease significantly.


#7

Pray for your sons' conversion and do not buy him any of the technologies before he is well grounded in his faith and love for Jesus Christ


#8

Teens tend to really "get into" things.

I would enforce "dead zones" as in wake up plus 30 mins to check his mail to lunch and dinner to 9pm. This is for you, too. No phone, TV or anything else...just for the summer.


#9

I remember when my mom complained I read to much...


#10

[quote="faithfully, post:9, topic:247225"]
I remember when my mom complained I read to much...

[/quote]

I remember back in the olden days when internet was only dial-up, and my brother would come home from work and throw a shoe at my head for tying up the phone line.

I have a hand-me-down first generation iPhone and truthfully, I use it more for the internet, Youtube and email more than the phone (I'm not really a phone person). Fortunately I have a 6 GB data plan. I can understand your son not liking being asked who he's texting. I'm 26 and if I'm typing something on my phone in the sight of my dad he's always inquiring whom I'm texting. It drives me nuts.

Kids being attached to their electronic devices is a real problem these days. Your son needs to get out and get some fresh air. What about planning some fun family outings that make iPod use difficult?


#11

It doesn't matter where he got the iPod. Your house, your rules. Give him set times he is permitted to use it and take into your possession the other times. Problem solved.


#12

A lot of good advice. I will re-read in the morning. He does not have an I-phone. He keeps complaining of that terrible, terrible lack, but sees it as connected to my "no-cell-phone" rule (may change when he drives). He doesn't liek the no-cellphone rule but it works because his Ipod has a free phone feature. Texting works on this, and him calling out works, but my calling him is harder unless he checks his messages (I can't leave a voice message but he can see my number called). So, he gets to use a phone.

The original idea for me was to avoid cell-phone radiation. Which is null now since the WiFi ipod connection means he gets that radiation. (I keep fussing about my future grandchildren...). It seems to me that the I-phone must have the worst radiation, since you are connected all the time.

But not having a cell-phone avoids those monthly fees! Which makes me think if he gts a cellphone it wil have to go on his Dad's bill, not mine! My son reports that his Dad wants to get him one but wont becaeu I don't want him to have a cell phone. So, every once in a great while, his Dad will back me up (or he is afraid of the cell phone bills!!).

Recently I lamented that I need a GPS, and he said, "That's why you should let me have an i-Phone! It has GPS! And its cheaper than a GPS!" (I said, "Oh really? Whats the monthly fee for a GPS?")

So, anyway, its an ipod problem. And that's two problems. What to do now, summer, when he needs some free and down time, and what to do when school starts because something must change in study habits. The former problem is the important one right now. I have a month only before he sees his Dad again till school starts.

The suggestion that we "do" more so he has an alternative is good. I am planning a camping trip now. Also, tomorrow I can insist he choose a book from the school's required summer reading list and borrow it or order it on half.com before he gets on the pod.

I have recently started saying, "Not in the car with me". I do need to say more, much more. Car rides aren't *that *much of our time. The author that two of you mentioned - I will look into. I would like to read something on the net though. I don't really want to buy any books right now, even used. Or particularly want right now to read a whole book. So, any links, anyone? Like, "What is normal i-Pod use and social ettiquette?" "The physical effect of iPod overuse on eyesight".

The "be super-strict" recommendation is good but hard when I didn't start that way, hard without a two-parent back-up system, hard to implement as a teen. These teen years are really the years for "gaining their cooperation". I think I need to start with reason and explanation, and if he won't buy,* then *assert authority. But, must try to gain cooperation, first, at least.

To gain cooperation, I must get myself perfectly clear in my mind first. I am not clear at all what is a workable approach and a good reasonable persuasive explanation (I just know its wrong, and its bad for your eyes" is not enough. it would really help me to here some good thoughts from articles on it if anyone knows of one.


#13

[quote="Oh_Charlotte, post:1, topic:247225"]
Help. My teen son got a Gen 4 iPod at Christmas from his father (to upgrade his Gen 3 also from Dad) and I have no control over those gifts (we are divorced) and I have not taken control over the use.

He is CONSTANTLY CONNECTED! Always face down eyes on iPod. Sometimes games, other times texting, Facebook, googling.. He does not like queries, "Who are you texting?" though he will say sometimes (and I try to keep it light). I warned him downward grades meant new ipod rules for school-year and I will need to be addressing that, as his grades went down through the school-year. He does average to above average in school by not studying. He listens and retains what is said in class. So grades, not so great for ability. State test scores in content area, pretty high. Study habits, awful. He is active in a winter sport that is time consuming, with extended seasons, and has some sport camps in summer. So he has discipline. Favorite downtime activity? iPod!!

I am not TOO concerned about X-rated as we have had many talks but th constant exposure to waht I can't track or screen or block means he is in constant state of possible exposure. He knows about "custody of the eyes" but still...

Its too much! He is on summer vacation and deserves some unstructured time, but after morning sports camp he is all-day on iPod. This can't go on.

Can't dictate to a teen like a child!

You do if he's acting like a child. If not, you can attempt to reason with him, but only up to a point.

I feel helpless and doesn't anyone else struggle with this? I did a CAFsearch and did not see this topic addressed!

Perhaps some teens have video game problems. We don't have a Playstation 3, as he has asked, but as he is not video-game-connected now, I am afraid that will be another battle like the iPod. But his Dad might get him that for Christmas.:(

Have you had a discussion with dad about how the iPod is an issue and you do not want your son to have a video game? If not, you need to, even if it won't be fun. He does not need more electronics if he is already too connected.

Also, when I have given iPod-grounding as a punishment once or twice, the tremendous hostile anger because of the forced separation was too much!

Trying to take control will mean severe anger and argument from him so I must get my thoughts and strategy in order in my own mind first.

OK, here's the kicker - you are his parent first, not his friend. And yes, we have been there with our son; many years of his rebellion and anger over not getting what he wants, not following the rules, believing he didn't need them. Your son's grades can be great, his behavior can be OK, but if he reacts with that much anger over losing an iPod, then your only answer as the parent is, "Then behave yourself." You are supposed to take control; you do not bargain with a child, even a teenager; they are to behave and follow the rules of the house, period. And I can guarantee that if you cannot see or worse, he does not want you to see, what he is looking at, then you already have a problem. It could be he is trying to exert his control over a small part of his life, but again, as the parent; it should be your rules because it is your house, period. If there is nothing bad or he is not doing anything wrong, then there should be no problem with you looking. And no, it does not work both ways - he doesn't get to check on you.

There will be anger and you will hurt if and when you put your foot down as a parent. Limit his time on it, shut off the service if he cannot follow the rules; if it is really just a matter of how much time he is spending on it, then try to find a reasonable amount of time he can be on it. Electronics are absolutely the biggest reason young people today have trouble relating and communicating. The problem is, what are you teaching him by letting him control you?

We learned the hard way and our situation was different, but we dealt with the hostility big time. Our son was extremely rebellious; he hated any authority and rules; I still hurt to this day over how he treated his mother and sisters, all because I tried to find a compomise with my wife on handling him. Never again. My trust in him is still shot to a great degree. I kicked him out three times. Now, he is in college and loving it, and has held his job for over three years, which is a record. We are sure he is out doing things he shouldn't, but that is on him. It is why he will not live under our roof again.

Talk with dad, talk with your son, explain your concerns and the rules of the house. There are things he will want to do as a teenager (like driving) that you can, if need be, hold over his head if he gets out of control. Doesn't sound like you're there except for iPod use. But it is a matter of your trust in your son, and more so, his repsect of you as his mother.

God bless.

So I would love suggestions. My son is 15, to be a sophomore.

[/quote]


#14

Get in through the back door. It is summer give him chores: mow the lawn, clean the house, walk the dog. Tell him dinner time and things like that he has to shut off the electronics. When you talk to him he needs to answer not just say "just a sec."

My mother took away my books when I ignored her. (Normally she gave me about three tries including a warning before she did but sometimes she didn't) I think she took the book with her to work so I couldn't have it. (In other words, I never found where she hid it) normally I lost it for at least a day sometimes longer. I was quicker on my feet than that.

You obviously can't control what he does when he's with his Dad but you can control what happens in your house. Good luck!


#15

I have found that setting the boundary first, telling them what it is, then the next infraction...consequences.

I have listened to other parents say, after a certain time of night...the cell phone is mine, so the same with the Ipod can happen. If you have WIFI in your home, which is how ipods get online, then research to see if there is some way to set a daily time limit for it's use. (say from the hours of 10 pm and 7 am) no internet access.

Of course if a neighbor has an unsecured wifi he can access theirs, and probably will.

At night with my son (who is younger) most of the time I require him to read his summer reading books before bed.

Also your youth director at church may have some lawns to mow or other projects for his involvement. They are smart in the ways of teens...

Oh and next year...summer job.


#16

[quote="Oh_Charlotte, post:12, topic:247225"]
A lot of good advice. I will re-read in the morning. He does not have an I-phone. He keeps complaining of that terrible, terrible lack, but sees it as connected to my "no-cell-phone" rule (may change when he drives). He doesn't liek the no-cellphone rule but it works because his Ipod has a free phone feature. Texting works on this, and him calling out works, but my calling him is harder unless he checks his messages (I can't leave a voice message but he can see my number called). So, he gets to use a phone.

The original idea for me was to avoid cell-phone radiation. Which is null now since the WiFi ipod connection means he gets that radiation. (I keep fussing about my future grandchildren...). It seems to me that the I-phone must have the worst radiation, since you are connected all the time.

But not having a cell-phone avoids those monthly fees! Which makes me think if he gts a cellphone it wil have to go on his Dad's bill, not mine! My son reports that his Dad wants to get him one but wont becaeu I don't want him to have a cell phone. So, every once in a great while, his Dad will back me up (or he is afraid of the cell phone bills!!).

Recently I lamented that I need a GPS, and he said, "That's why you should let me have an i-Phone! It has GPS! And its cheaper than a GPS!" (I said, "Oh really? Whats the monthly fee for a GPS?")

So, anyway, its an ipod problem. And that's two problems. What to do now, summer, when he needs some free and down time, and what to do when school starts because something must change in study habits. The former problem is the important one right now. I have a month only before he sees his Dad again till school starts.

The suggestion that we "do" more so he has an alternative is good. I am planning a camping trip now. Also, tomorrow I can insist he choose a book from the school's required summer reading list and borrow it or order it on half.com before he gets on the pod.

I have recently started saying, "Not in the car with me". I do need to say more, much more. Car rides aren't *that *much of our time. The author that two of you mentioned - I will look into. I would like to read something on the net though. I don't really want to buy any books right now, even used. Or particularly want right now to read a whole book. So, any links, anyone? Like, "What is normal i-Pod use and social ettiquette?" "The physical effect of iPod overuse on eyesight".

The "be super-strict" recommendation is good but hard when I didn't start that way, hard without a two-parent back-up system, hard to implement as a teen. These teen years are really the years for "gaining their cooperation". I think I need to start with reason and explanation, and if he won't buy,* then *assert authority. But, must try to gain cooperation, first, at least.

It does not always need to be a fight. Sometimes when I put my foot down with my kids, they are relieved. The reason they need parents is because they are too immature to raise themselves.

To gain cooperation, I must get myself perfectly clear in my mind first. I am not clear at all what is a workable approach and a good reasonable persuasive explanation (I just know its wrong, and its bad for your eyes" is not enough. it would really help me to here some good thoughts from articles on it if anyone knows of one.

[/quote]


#17

[quote="StarFireKK, post:14, topic:247225"]
Get in through the back door. It is summer give him chores: mow the lawn, clean the house, walk the dog. Tell him dinner time and things like that he has to shut off the electronics. When you talk to him he needs to answer not just say "just a sec."

My mother took away my books when I ignored her. (Normally she gave me about three tries including a warning before she did but sometimes she didn't) I think she took the book with her to work so I couldn't have it. (In other words, I never found where she hid it) normally I lost it for at least a day sometimes longer. I was quicker on my feet than that.

You obviously can't control what he does when he's with his Dad but you can control what happens in your house. Good luck!

[/quote]

This back door method works with my style - particularly while I get my reasoning lined up. I really don't want to be in the position of having him get rebellious right off the bat, so just coming down hard and insistent all of the sudden doesn't seem the right approach. Thanks for this.

Re: my style - sometimes I tend to do nothing rather than the wrong thing when I am not sure how to approach a thing. Not the best maybe, but I usually stick with a thing till I figure it out!


#18

As the parent, you can take it from him as he is still a minor when you want to do so. Another thing is that he surrenders any electronic devices before going to school, Mass, or going to see other family members when under your supervision.

I would try to find things for him to do at your home that do not involve electronic device use like yard work, housecleaning, etc. Also, perhaps have him assist a neighbor with cutting the grass. Or, find out through your church about a youth volunteer program or if youths can do things for the elderly in the parish like mowing lawns, volunteering for Vacation Bible School, or similar.

I would set times where he can use the device under your supervision and that he can only use after he has done something productive like chores around the home. Remember: your home, your rules, and to enforce the fact he is breaking the 4th Commandment if he doesn't agree to your requests: Honor thy father and thy mother.


#19

Thanks Miss Rose. Others also suggested limiting iPOD use by distraction with other activities or responsibilities. I think that's a place to start, so I am thinking, and had a breakthrough, by the grace of God, tonight! I will say below what.

I do think I need to do just that, and also do things together like share meal prep (I have more time to think these things through in summer when I am off work, however, its a limited summer, with sharing time with his Dad,- that horrible inevitable reality of divorce/custody sharing [and those of you who are married and think divorce is avoidable I will tell you now, it absolutely is not avoidable for everybody!]. Back to my thoughts - besides keeping him busy with other things, I also need to do things with him like have him help me with chores or projects together; then we can talk.

So tonight we were just talking and he tells me about this Khan University - free school tutoring available on i-Pod (or Internet). His grades, as I mentioned, went down this year and i-POD, as I mentioned, is a big part of the problem. But not all!

Before the stinking-divorce messed up our life (I realize it was inevitable and I am grateful for God's graces to get through it and keep going) I was homeschooling him, and was that ever hard to give up! I prefer tailored teaching! I hate how schools teach, 80% of the time!

This year my son had ONE exceptional teacher. And his school is ranked quit high. Last year - luckier - two exceptional teachers. Before that, one! This is out of 5-6 teachers a year. And there is always a bad teacher, too, one that you have to learn in SPITE of! In elementary years if the teacher was bad then ALL the subjects suffered! And he had only 3 elementary years (as I homeschooled him K-2) and NONE were exceptional. Luck of the draw.

So, tonight he tells me he thinks he can learn 10th grade Geometry (that he is signed up to begin in the Fall) this summer in 30 easy 20 min. lessons. This is FREE, folks, to everyone, almost every subject particularly Math and Science! Parents, you have to know about this option! Check it out: khanacademy.org/about

Khan teaches exactly how my son best learns. Out-loud lectures, not too long, taught with great intelligence. Its PERFECT.

My son learns Math and Science easily but he is in average classes for his age. He was accelerated but we moved 4x in 5 years after divorce and this last move involved big complications in our lives and I just couldn't stay on top of what the teachers were doing, and he slipped to average.

I feel they are wasting his talents because, for one, in typical-size classrooms they can't (unless they are exceptional) cater to individual learning styles. That my son is bored in school, and by certain teaching styles - I just can't blame him! I feel so bogged down by the public school experience (public schools here are the only good choice, as the Catholic schools aren't Catholic, just "private school experience", if you know what I mean.

I felt hope a year ago, because it occurred to me in this latest life I have set up for us it would be possible to home-school (I am gone many days, school hours, but he is older now and more independent) so we were going to home-school one year of high school, either 10th or 11th. My son was happy about it. We would get him "repaired" in one year for the key "lackings" of the high school experience, and he would forge ahead in some area of his choosing. However, he got into wrestling and does not want to miss. Its a long season, ending spring. However! We COULD possibly pull him out to finish the school year in Spring at home after wrestling ends, particularly if there are no exceptional teachers in his schedule, no one worth staying in school for. He could learn online etc. and take school exams in June.

If he learns his Geometry this summer and starts the year taking a final to prove he already knows it, he could be on a roll to show he is not, in fact, average (like most average kids aren't!). I really want him to shine academically in SOME way (as I think all kids can with the right help/direction/teaching). He could start Trig in the fall and with the Khan program finish it in a half year or less instead of a whole. Perhaps they would let him do Calculus as an Independent Study afterward. I'd be willing to have him stay home for every single sniffle so he could have "Math days". He could also pull ahead in Science, so maybe rather than Calculus he could complete a Science class and take two science finals in June.:D

Oh, my. I have always felt that having a positive goal is the best way to overcome the negative habits. I think we might have one!!

I am so excited!:p*


#20

My daughters spent the last few months working their butts off so they could save up for an iPod. We told them from the start that they would not have unlimited use of it. For the summer, they each get an hour a day. That will be cut down by at least half once school starts back up. If they can't deal with that, can't share or fight over it, it gets taken away for the day. If it doesn't improve, it's three days, then a week, then a month. We haven't had any issues with it. Don't forget who's the parent and who sets the rules.


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